Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Turbulent Journey - Ch. 12

By mid-December the island buddies were growing antsy. They’d been shipwrecked for over three months now and the hope of them ever leaving the island was slowly dissipating with each day. Nevertheless, the love they felt for each other was growing by leaps and bounds.

Unfortunately, neither of them had confessed that love to the other yet. And although the loving looks they shared at times told some of the tale, it was just a matter of time before their lips filled in the blanks and told it all.

***

Early on Christmas morning Jamaal awakened before sunrise and went to the captain’s quarters. He was determined that this day would go the way he planned. When he found what he was looking for, he purposefully made his way to Angel’s cabin.

Jamaal had had enough. He’d had enough of withholding his feelings for Angel. Enough of looking, but not touching her. Enough of lying in bed alone at night when he could be holding her in his arms.

If I have to be on this island, cut off from civilization, at least I can be happy with the woman I love, Jamaal thought, knowing that he definitely loved Angel.

Angel’s bravery, perseverance and ability to rise above adversity had endeared her to him forever. Jamaal even adored and respected the fact that there were moments when she went off by herself. Who didn’t need a little solitude every now and then? Those times helped to refresh a person. And the fact that Angel was beautiful and had legs as shapely as any Olympic gymnast didn’t hurt, either.

“Tap, tap,” Jamaal’s mahogany knuckles sounded on Angel’s white cabin door with thick anticipation.

She immediately answered it, looking as radiant as ever. Her sandy hair was healthy again and it was picked out into a full afro. The jeans she wore were formfitting and had been literally stoned washed in the sea once a week with their other garments. The white t-shirt she wore said, ‘I’m blessed’. That declaration was true. Angel was blessed. Very blessed. She had to be in order to have made it this far.

“Hello, Jamaal…”Angel began. Her voice soon trailed off as he swiftly went down on one knee in front of her.

Martinez scrambled out the door and joined Jamaal there on the floor. He looked inquisitively from one human to the other as he wagged his tail enthusiastically. It was as if he could since the excitement of the moment.

Before Angel could say anything else, Jamaal proposed. “Will you marry me, Angel? I love you and if I’m not mistaken, I believe you love me, too,” he said. Even now he remembered catching her staring at him on several occasions with that special look that a woman only gives a man she loves. His mother used to look at his father that way, as if every word he said was precious and important to her.

Jamaal also remembered the sweet terms of endearments Angel had uttered when he was ill. Endearments that removed any doubt in his mind concerning her love for him. Now he just needed for her to say it.

Angel’s green eyes grew wide and glossy with emotion. She nodded. “Yes, I will marry you. And you’re right. I do love you. I have loved you for months now. I was just too afraid to tell you.” Happy tears slid down her cheeks as a smiling Jamaal slipped a thick gold clustered ring on her finger.

Angel was completely unaware of the significance of this particular ring. First of all, the ring had been passed down through the Norris family for three generations. Grandpa Norris gave it to his son and Major Norris gave it to his son on his deathbed. Yet the fact that Jamaal was viewing the ring as a precious wedding gift and not just as another unpleasant reminder of his past gave the ring its most significance. For the giving of this ring was a positive sign of his emotional recovery.

Over the last few months, Jamaal has finally come to grips with the fact that his father was just human. And that as such was subject to error like anyone else. No parent is perfect and they shouldn’t be expected to be.

Major Norris raised Jamaal the only way he knew how – with strict adherence to order and discipline in a world often devoid of both. Although Jimmie’s methods had been a bit excessive at times, his motives had originated from a pure place in his heart. He’d wanted to rear up a strong, capable, responsible young man who would be an asset to any community. Jamaal was most certainly that. In fact, it is a documented fact that Lorenzo Beach’s homes are safer because of his security company.

“But how will we get married, Jamaal? There’s no one here to marry us,” Angel said, still trying to take it all in. The wide smile on her face was joy wrapped up in layers of happiness. She was ecstatic.

Jamaal rose from his knees and smiled down into her face. “There was no man around to marry Adam and Eve either, remember? Yet all of the principal parties were there. All of the principal parties are here, too, Angel – me, you and God. And even though we don’t have a man around to witness our nuptials, we will recite our vows to each other before God. He’s the one that matters the most anyway.”

Then Jamaal produced a piece of paper. “This is a marriage certificate that I found in the captain’s quarters. I guess he kept them on hand in case people like us wanted to get hitched,” he said. Jamaal reached over to stroke her smooth cheek and added, “We’ll sign this as an outward symbol of our commitment after we say our vows, all right?”

Angel nodded in agreement. She knew Jamaal wasn’t doing this as some deceitful way to get her to sleep with him. If he was that kind of man, he would have jumped her bones months ago. It wasn’t like there were any police around to stop him from forcing himself upon her.

No, Jamaal was a man of integrity. A man who (with God’s help) had policed himself all these months that they’d been on the island together. Yes, Angel was more than happy to marry a man like that.

But still there was a question she had to ask. “What happens to our union, if we get off this island?”

When we get off this island, we’ll renew our vows in a formal ceremony with as many witnesses as we want. Don’t worry, our marriage will be honored in the sight of God and man,” Jamaal said reassuringly, wrapping his arms lovingly around her.

Those confident words consoled Angel as she relaxed in Jamaal’s embrace, enjoying the way his strong arms enveloped her softness. It was her heart’s desire to do things right this time. One bad marriage was enough.

“I need time to get ready,” Angel said after a few more delightful moments in his arms.

“And time to write your vows,” Jamaal added as he released her. I guess I can wait just a little bit longer to have her.

© 2006 Suprina Frazier

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

i can't believe you're making me wait for tomarrow

Anonymous said...

aw their getting married. no questions

Suprina said...

Tee-hee. Gotta love those comments.